After Delhi L-G rejects ease in curbs, traders’ bodies hold protests

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Following the Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s decision to not lift the weekend curfew and odd-even restrictions at markets and malls, several traders from Sadar Bazar and Sarojini Nagar held a protest and sought permission to reopen all shops. Some traders’ associations have also written to the L-G, requesting him to withdraw both restrictions.

Raising slogans and holding placards saying, “L-G sir please help”, “save our businesses”, “end odd-even plan”, “odd-even killing our business, please help”, the Federation of Sadar Bazar Traders’ Association stated, “Cases are declining at a very fast pace. Why can’t the restrictions be lifted?”

Paramjit Singh Pamma, president of the federation, said, “We have already faced huge financial losses and lost many customers; our lives depend on daily sales. Due to the weekend curfew and odd-even scheme, winter stock has been left unsold. Many employees whose lives are solely dependent on their daily earnings are losing jobs. Shopkeepers have bills to pay… When all shops and markets are open in Gurgaon, Noida, and Ghaziabad, why are shops across Delhi still shut?”

Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Association, added, “We were relieved when we heard the Delhi government’s plans to lift weekend curfew and odd-even in markets. But the happiness was fleeting. We request both the L-G and the government not to play politics since the survival of small businesses is at stake.”

In a letter to Baijal, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said: “From January 1-20, there has been a reduction of about 60% in Delhi trade caused by Covid restrictions. Traders in Delhi have been facing an acute financial crisis for the last two years. Their savings have reduced substantially since there is a continuous outflow of money, and inflow of money has decreased to a bare minimum, whereas the traders are mandatorily complying with all tax and other statuary obligations. The trading community is seeing the worst days of business currently.”

Demanding to lift the restrictions, CAIT general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said, “Trade associations may be asked to mandatorily comply with Covid safety protocols, which they are already doing. The local administration along with trade associations can be asked to ensure regulation of crowd in markets. Restrict working hours of markets from 10 am to 5 pm and allow restaurants and bars to reopen with 50% capacity.”

Weekend curfew in Delhi was imposed from January 7 and odd-even was imposed from January 1.

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